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Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990)


Much like his mentor Andy Warhol, the central focus of pop-modern graffiti artist Keith Haring’s career was to make art accessible to the public. Haring was interested in drawing from an early age, and even as a child gravitated towards cartooning and popular art. This interest in popular art led Haring to attend the Ivy School of Professional Art, but he quickly learned he had no interest in commercial graphic art, and in 1978 moved to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts. During his time in New York, Haring became infatuated with the alternative art community of the streets rather than the formal art world of museums and galleries, and decided to devote his career to bringing his art to the streets. He first began by displaying art in subway stations, and as his work gained momentum, he designed public works such as an animation for a billboard in Times Square, a mural for the Berlin wall, and designs for swatch watches. In 1986, Haring opened his own store in Soho called the Pop Shop that sold mass produced products of his work such as shirts and posters. Throughout his career, Haring also used his work to benefit the public by working in conjunction with literacy, environmental, human rights and children art education programs. Haring’s works were displayed on an international scale, and featured in the Sao Paulo Biennial, the Paris Biennial, and the Whitney Biennial.

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